Holden is set to announce a reduction in the production shift at its Adelaide manufacturing plant in response to a decline in export demand and the related high Australian dollar.
The local car maker’s move follows Toyota’s recent announcement that it is axing 350 employees at its Altona plant in Melbourne, also in response to reduced exports, and will cast further doubts over the future of the local car industry.
Holden will make an official announcement tomorrow but confirmed to CarAdvice that it would concern plant shift changes at its Adelaide operations where it builds the Commodore large car and Cruze small car.
“We’re not in a position to comment at this stage. We’ve got to talk to our employees first and we’re going to be doing that in the next 12 to 18 hours, over the different shifts,” said Holden spokeswoman Shayna Welsh.
CarAdvice understands no forced or optional redundancies will be made but instead contracts that were formed when higher numbers of export vehicles were being built will not be renewed.
A reduction in shifts from two to one for the general assembly plant only is also expected.
An Australian Manufacturing Workers Union official, John Gee, has reportedly told the ABC that the plant’s daily vehicle output will be reduced from 450 to 400 cars, though CarAdvice believes total annual production for 2012 is set to remain close to the circa-90,000 vehicles produced in 2011.
The Federal and South Australian Governments are currently negotiating with Holden’s parent company, General Motors, for further co-investment measures to secure the future of the Elizabeth, Adelaide, plant until at least the end of the decade.
Holden cut its Elizabeth plant to a single production shift in 2009 in response to the global financial crisis and a downturn in exports to the US and Middle East, and reduced production temporarily in mid 2010.
The company hired 50 new employees on 12-month contracts in late 2010 after restoring production to a double shift.
CarAdvice will publish more details tomorrow morning after Holden’s official announcement.